19 December 2010

Fresh and Blessed at Borgotti's Ravioli

Borgotti's Ravioli and Egg Noodles (very specific name, that) is one of my regular stops whenever I get up to Arthur Avenue in The Bronx. The pasta is fresh—often it's made right as you order it—and the atmosphere is of another time; counters and shelves and equipment that haven't changed in decades.

The small store was crowed on a recent Thursday night just before closing. Pre-Christmas rush? Or just the usual logjam? The old lady under the sign listing the types of pasta and their prices (the Borgotti matriarch, I assume) was doing her thing, packing up bags of pasta for the customers.

The line was mainly for the freshly cut noodles. One could see the ancient machine slicing up the sheets of flat dough to the width specifications of each customer. The resultant pasta was then layered on a piece of butcher paper, sprinkled with yellow dust taken out of a nearby tin marked "Corn Meal" (this keeps the noodles from sticking to one another) and then wrapped up with a sticker indicating the weight and price. I choose spinachi cut to the width a bit thicker than fettucini. It was a thing of beauty the green ribbons that were placed on that white paper. I said so. The clerk readily agreed.

An odd note in the store is the religious atmosphere. There are several icons here and there, and an abundance of slightly scary bumper stickers near the refrigerated section. "No Jesus, No Peach. Know Jesus, Know Peace." That sort of thing. Also a lot of flags. Piety and patriotism tend to go together that way.

I made the spinach pasta that night, adorning it with a marinara recipe provided on a sheet handing out by the Borgotti counter person. I kept close watch, waiting for that al dente moment. Perfect. Couldn't be better. I had three helpings. I still have a box of their ricotta ravioli in the freezer. Can't wait. I'm not religious, but God bless those Borgottis. "No Pasta, No Peace. Know Pasta, Know Peace."

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